YEREVAN—After a three-year moratorium on protests at Liberty Square, Armenian police allowed Armenian National Congress protesters to enter the square Thursday as they marched from the Madenatarn building toward the central square, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
After brief talks between protest organizers and police, the crowd was allowed to enter the square. The Armenian National Congress immediately called it a “victory” in its ongoing efforts to drive an agenda, which include forcing President Serzh Sarkisian to call elections, ahead of scheduled parliamentary and presidential polls in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Armenian National Congress leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, said his group was willing to have “dialogue” with the Sarkisian administration, saying he is giving the president an opportunity to make concession based on demands Ter-Petrosian laid out at a March 1 protest.
Ter-Petrosian likened his efforts to recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, saying “Very soon, that wave [of protests] will show a tendency to grow, rather than die out,” reported RFE/RL.
The police signaled that they would be willing to talk and negotiate terms for another planned Armenian National Congress protest scheduled for April 8. Two Ter-Petrosian loyalists were released from prison ahead of the protest.
Heritage Party founder and leader, Raffi Hovannisian, who has been staging a hunger strike in Liberty Square since Tuesday, was greeted by some protesters as they approached the square.
Hovannisian’s one-man protest action is also aimed at forcing Sarkisian to call snap elections.
Neither Ter-Petrosian nor other Armenian National Congress leaders approached or greeted Hovannisian who told RFE/RL “This is the beginning of the victory of freedom.”